This doesn’t look good, Parker. No, Milady!

There’s always something devilishly exciting about a new Jason Statham movie. Sure, it’s no Shakespeare, but the baldy British action star has enough charisma and faux-Cockney swagger to make films like the ludicrous Transporter and Crank series entertaining, in a silly, popcorn-chomping sort of way.

Parker is no exception. Based on the novel Flashfire from Donald E. Westlake’s hardboiled crime series, The Stath stars as the eponymous, hard-as-nails master thief with a questionable moral compass and a hulky scarred torso. After leading a successful million dollar heist at a local Ohio state fair, his crackerjack crew turn against him, leaving him bloodied, wounded and waiting for death by the roadside. Unfortunately for them, Parker is seemingly indestructible and limping with a vengeance. Deserting his girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth) and her mafioso dad (a cameo from the gravelly voiced Nolte), he hunts them down to lavish Palm Beach, Florida, and enlists a fledgling estate agent Leslie (Lopez). Together they hatch a plan to catch his former crew while undertaking a jewellery auction heist. 


The first thing worthy of mention is that Parker’s plot, like all good/bad action B-movies, is utter balderdash. What could a shrill estate agent know about the criminal underworld? How could Statham survive a point blank bullet wound to the chest? And perhaps most preposterous of all, how could anyone ever believe the Brit’s lame Texan accent? Parker is the sort of film in which you need to leave any such questions of plausibility at the door and just enjoy the gaudy action spectacle. 


The Oscar-nominated director of The Devil’s Advocate and Ray blends grisly film noir tropes with ultra-violent action set-pieces. Getting off to a rollicking start, as the narrative takes prominence, Parker sluggishly tumbles through the two-hour running time and needs a good edit. Although J-Lo’s screen presence is magnetic, her character is entirely superfluous: merely an attractive window dressing.


Is it a ‘good’ film? Of course not. The plot is derivative, the ‘stick ‘em up!’ dialogue cringe-worthy, and the characterisation ignominious. Nevertheless, it’s mindless entertainment that you can’t help but succumb to.


Parker (15)

Dir: Taylor Hackford; US action/crime, 2013, 118 mins; Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis, Clifton Collins Jr

Premiered February 28

Playing nationwide


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